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Tom Cullerton works to promote PANDAS

tc panda 050317SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is continuing his work to raise awareness for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS) by designating October 9 of 2017 and 2018 as PANS, PANDAS and PITAND Awareness Day in the State of Illinois.

“Education is essential to early diagnosis of PANDAS,” said Cullerton. “No one wants to see children suffer. The faster we diagnose children affected by PANDAS, the quicker we can begin treatment.”

Charlie woke up on eighth his birthday with Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS).

The little boy who once loved performing in talent shows and putting on skits was now scared of crowds and talking to his friends. There was an immediate change in his personality.

PANDAS is characterized by a sudden onset of symptoms associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome and other tics after a child has had a strep infection. Symptoms range from severe separation anxiety to motor tics that appear similar to seizures and hallucinations. The symptoms are severe enough to prevent children from attending school.

After two months of looking for answers, a doctor diagnosed Charlie with PANDAS.

After observing Charlie, his mother Kate Drury, Vice President of PANDAS/PANS Advocacy & Support, was quickly able to recognize her younger son had PANDAS when he displayed early symptoms.

Cullerton first became aware of PANDAS after meeting with the group formed by Drury and other mothers whose children have suffered from PANDAS. He pledges to continue to work to raise awareness and support to help children like Charlie.

“As a parent, it's so hard to watch your child completely deteriorate in front of your eyes. You go to the doctor, get a diagnosis, and then are unable to access the treatment that doctor prescribes. The biggest problem we continue to face is that our families cannot rely on their insurance plans to cover the doctor recommended, medically necessary care our children require,” said Wendy Nawara, Executive Director of PANDAS/PANS Advocacy & Support. “This treatment gives our kids their lives back. Why do we even haven health insurance if it won't help us help our children? ”

Cullerton commends the advocacy the group continues to do on behalf of the children of Illinois.

PANDAS can potentially be a lifelong disease that is estimated to affect nearly 175,000 children and adolescents in Illinois. It has even been found in adults.

Senate Resolution 454 passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

Sen. Tom Cullerton

tcullerton-hs

23rd Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Energy and Public Utilities; Insurance; Labor; State Government; Transportation; Veterans Affairs (Chairperson); Sub. on Utility Rate Regulations (Sub-Chairperson).

Biography: Born Sept. 20, 1969; studied at the University of Kansas; former village president and trustee of Villa Park; married (wife Stacey), three sons.

Associated Representatives:
Deb Conroy
Diane Pappas